The story of the railway began more than a century ago.
Not long after the Swiss summit was scaled on horseback by Queen Victoria in 1868, Pilatus became in increasingly popular attraction. Some sort of transport mode to the top was therefore necessary.
Zurich-based engineer Eduard Locher was the first to suggest building a railway up the mountain in 1873, but his plans were essentially deemed mad.
However, following the invention of the rail rack system – a track configuration in which the train’s fitted cog wheels mesh with a toothed rack – things changed.
His variation on the design involved opposing twin horizontal cogwheels carried on vertical shafts under the car.
This avoided the possibility of the train de-railing or toppling over. Custom automatic breaks also prevented the train from speeding.
Work commenced in 1886, with around 150 Swiss and 600 Italians tasked with building the nearly three-mile track.
On June 4, 1889, the Pilatus Railway started operating – originally using steam-operated coaches.
In March of 1937, it switched to electricity and re-opened using new electric motor coaches, each seating 40 passengers compared with their previous capacity of 32, and cutting the journey time by more than half.